tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN October 18, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
go until the election. good ink, ievening. i'm wolf blitzer in for piers morgan. we are going to bring you all of the one-liners live. let's set the stage. i want to bring in gloria borger, ralph, tonya and jim acosta, our political correspondent standing outside the waldorf in new york. set the stage for us, jim. what are we about to see? >> reporter: the alfred smith dinner, we are told that speech will begin at 9:05. he gets to go first. the president gets to go second. as you've noted and as we've been reported, this is typically a light-hearted affair. we have been reporting all day long that the gop nominee was in debate prep for most of the day. i should report that i did hear from a senior romney adviser that said that mitt romney also worked on this speech for this
i evening. it was serious business earlier today when he was working on his material for later on this ink. wolf, keep in mind, i have noticed out on the campaign trail following mitt romney, the candidate does have a sense of humor. sometimes the jokes may come across unintentionally. he does have the occasion where he does intentionally tell some jokes and shares his humor. the dpoes over very well. we were here on september 25th when he spoke in front of the clinton global initiative. after bill clinton introduced him, he said he was waiting for the clinton bounce in the polls after being introduced by bill clinton. he does have a vast record of experience telling jokes in public settings and it actually going over pretty well, wolf. >> they are getting ready for all the jokes. they are getting ready for the entertainment, if you will. those are live pictures you were just seeing from inside the ballroom. let me remind you what happened
four years ago when the then two presidential candidates, both senators, john mccain and barack obama, told some funny one-liners. >> this campaign needed the common touch of a working man. after all, it began so long ago with the heralded arrival of a man known to oprah winfrey as the one. being a friend and colleague of barack, i just called him, that one. >> many of you know that i got my name, barack, from my father. what you may not know is that barack is actually swahili for that one. i got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't ever think i would run for president. >> very funny. they are going to have some good one-liners. gloria, why do these candidates normally attend this event sponsored by the archdiocese of
new york. >> i think at this point in i acampaign, wolf, it is clear to them and it is also pretty clear to us that what we need is some civility, a little bit of humor. it doesn't hurt yourself as a candidate to be self-deprecating. you just saw then candidate obama, john mccain making fun of themselves. john mccain making fun of his mistake in a presidential debate. i think voters like to see these candidates, who are always on, who are always tense, who are always competitive to show another side of themselves with a little bit of humor and i think they probably both belief th believe this is good for them. >> this is one of those feel-good moments. it comes a few days after one of the most fiery, if not the toughest presidential debate in modern times shall we say. when people watch this live, they are going to see both
candidates live here tonight. i think they are going to get a better feeling about the country. don't you agree? >> i would think so. one of the striking things about the last debate, some was the town hall setting and the fact that they could circle each other almost. people were talking about there were moments when it almost seemed like they were ready to come to blows. mitt romney's son made a slightly unfortunate joke about wanting to get in on the action himself. you had the sense from the last debate that these were two guys that don't like each other very much and don't like each other more than presidential candidates don't usually like each other. the chance to stand up and tell jokes and not with at war with each other for the night is good for both of them. >> you can see some media celebrities in that row right behind the president. he is speaking to cardinal doe man from new york. he is going to be speaking later this ink evening as well. i see chris matthews there,
katie couric, marie bartoroma. >> give us a little flavor. what do you think is going to happen in the course of the next hour? >> i think that ross made a very interesting point. if you remember, barack obama and john mccain actually used to be friends. they had the opportunity to work in the senate. there was some credibility to the fun we saw at the dinner. this time, not so much. i think it will be great for the country. both men will step up and give us a lighter sense of who they are and take the edge off of this campaign a bit. in real life, democrats and republicans do get along from time to time. this will be a good opportunity to show that side and calm down the political rhetoric. >> they are going to raise money as a result of the dinner.
some tables are going for $100,000. needy kids in the new york area will be the beneficiary from this excellent dinner. no the only will all of us be getting a few laughs and maybe a little bit of a good feeling about this political process but in the process, a lot of needy kids will get some help as well. jim acosta, you spent the day covering mitt romney. how is he preparing to tell some jokes. >> that romney adviser did tell me he has been working on these jokes in addition to doing the debate prep. the american people are just getting a chance to get to know mitt romney. this will be a part of that
process. mitt romney to a lot of americans was an unknown quantity. one of the reasons we have seen him rising in the polls. they saw him as an acceptable alternative. i will mention that. perhaps a little animosity the other night. there was a poll that came out a few moments ago, the press pool, the small number of journalists in the event standing by to watch this unfold in a few moments from now. in that pool report, the alfred e. smith, iv, the m.c. gave a joke to kick off the night and said there is a safe distance between the two candidates this ink and pardon the truck behind me. he pointed to cardinal dolan. they got in a good joke before the candidates took the stage. >> they have had an excellent
dinner, we are told. let me just let our viewers in the united states and around the world what these 1600 people have eaton. some poached lobster tail, rosemary-sauced rack of lamb with risotto. baby zucchini, a confit tomato and for dessert, dark chocolate fruit cadeau, i don't know and petit fours. >> gloria, help me with those words. >> i took french at one point in my life. >> i think it means present. >> it does. it does. one thing i am reminded of, wolf, is how important presidential joke writers are, scann candidate joke writers are when you are in a high-profile situation like this. the president is always put on the spot when he has to tell jokes before a comedian. here tonight, both candidates are in a different competition. it will be who can be more self-deprecating, who can be
more gracious? at the same time, being funny. these two men, they don't like each other very much. they don't have a long history together. they don't know each other very well. >> john mccain and senator obama knew each other well. they fought quite a bit but did a longer-term relationship. these men see each other more when they are squaring off and talking to each other and looking at policy. honestly, there is not much of a real relationship there. >> it is interesting. if you take a look at the catholic vote, ross, i know you have studied this. gloria studied it as well. in the 2008 cnn exit poll. among catholic voters, we asked them, who do you vote for for president? 52% said then senator barack obama. 45% said john mccain. it is shaping up a little bit different this time around.
we have two vice presidential candidates who are both catholics. at the top of the ticket, one is a mormon, the other is a protestant. >> one issue we haven't talked about is that archbishop dolan is at the forefront of the catholic church's battle with the white house over the health and human services mandate requiring renl requiring religious, institutions, hospitals and schools to cover contraception, the morning-after pill and contraception. he is involved in a lawsuit against the department of health and human services and criticized by some catholics for extending the usual invitation to the president given the tensions between the white house and the fact that the church has argued that the administration has been infringing on religious liberty. it is very interesting. i doubt we will be hearing many jokes about contraception from the president tonight. >> they have just introduced the former governor of massachusetts, the republican
presidential nominee. there, you see him. he is now shaking hands with the mc, alfred e. smith, iv. mitt romney is going to speak. let's see what he has to say. let's see how funny this republican nominee can be. >> thank you, thank you. thank you so much. >> your eminence, cardinal d dolan, mr. president, governor cuomo, al and ann smith, senator schumer. thank you for are invitation. thank you for your extraordinary warm welcome. ann and i appreciate your friendship very, very much, thank you. now, al, you are right, a campaign can require a lot of wardrobe changes. blue jeans in the morning perhaps, suit for a lunch
fund-raiser, sport coat for dinner but it is nice to finally relax and to wear what ann and i wear around the house. [ applause ] >> i'm glad to be able to join in this venerable tradition. of course, i'm pleased that the president is here. we were chatting pleasantly this ink as if tuesday night never happened. i credit that, of course, to the cardinal. it has taken new york's highest spiritual authority to get us back on our best behavior. i was actually hoping the president would bring joe biden along this ink, because he will laugh at anything. [ applause ]
of course, this isn't a night for serious politics. it was especially nice to see president obama and cardinal dolan sharing despite their differences. i'm sure the cardinal has no hard feelings and we might get an indication of that during dinner to see if the president's wine turns into water. or for that matter, whether my water turns into wine. i'm pleased to once again have the chance to see governor cuomo, who is already being talked about for a higher office, a very impressive fellow but he may be getting a little ahead of himself. i mean, let me get this straight. the man has put in one term as a governor, has a father who happened to be a governor and he thinks that is enough to run for president. [ applause ] of course, we are down to the final months of the president's term. as presidents --
[ applause ] >> as president obama surveys the waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he is thinking. so little time, so much to redistribute. [ applause ] >> and don't be surprised if the president mentions this ink the monthly jobs report where there was a slight improvement in the numbers. he knows how to seize the moment, this president. he already has a compelling new campaign slogan. you are better off now than you were four weeks ago. you know, with or without all the dignitaries that are here, the al smith dinner surely lives up to its billing. usually, when i get invited to gatherings like this, it is just
to be the designated driver. [ applause ] >> your kind hospitality here tonight gives me a chance to convey me deep and long-held respect for the catholic church, have special admiration for the apostle st. peter, to whom it is said, upon this rock, i will build my church. the story is all the more inspiring when you consider that he had so many sceptics and scoffers at the time that were heard to say, if you have got a church, you didn't build that. of course, only 19 days to go until the finish line. campaign full of surprises. the debates are very exciting. just other night, we had a very fun debate. candy crowley was there and happy to welcome us. people seemed to be very keirus as to how we prepare for the debates. let me tell you what i do.
first, refrain from alcohol for 65 years before the debate. second, find the biggest available strawman and then m s sesly attack it. big bird didn't see it come. the president's remarks are brought to you by the letter "o" and the number 16 trillion. [ applause ] >> campaigns can be grueling, exhausting, president obama and i are each very lucky to have one person who is always in our corner, someone who we can lean on and someone who is a comforting presence without whom we wouldn't be able to go another day. i have my beautiful wife, ann. he has bill clinton.
we got a big dose of the biden charm last week. i will tell you that. in his debate with paul ryan. i'm not sure all that carrying on had quite the effect joe intended. j afterwards, i heard from the federal election commission. from now on, whenever he appears on tv there is a recording of me that says, i'm mitt romney and i approve this mess annal. rules of fairness have to be enforced. what other safeguard do we have beside the press. now, i never suggest that the press is biased. i recognize they have their job to do and i have my job to do. my job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country. their job is to make sure no one else finds out about it.
let's just say that some in the media have a certain way of looking at things. when suddenly i pulled ahead in some of the major polls, what was the headline? polls show obama leading from behind. and i have already seen early reports from tonight's dinner. headline, obama embraced by catholics. romney dines with rich people. of course, the president has put his own stamp on relations with the church. there have been some awkward moments, like when the president pulled pope benedict aside to share some advice on how to deal with his critics. he said, look, holy father, whatever the problem is, just
blame it on pope john paul ii. of course, the president has found a way to take the sting out of the obama care mandates for the church. from now on, they are going to be in latin. we have very fundamental and sound principles that guide both the president and me. he and i, of course, feel the pressures and tensions of a close contest. it would be easy to let a healthy competition give way to the personal and the petty but fortunately, we don't carry the burden of disliking one another. our president has had some very fine and gracious moments. don't tell anyone i said so but our 44th president has many gifts and a beautiful family that would make any man proud. you can oppose -- in our
country, you can oppose someone in politics and make a confident case against their case without any ill-will. that's how it is for me. there is more to life than politics. at the al smith foundation and the archdiocese in new york, you show this in the work you do. in causes that run deeper than ali genera ali generals to any party at the moment. no matter what way the political winds are blowing, work goes on and you, you answer with calm and willing hearts and in service for the poor, in care for the sick and defense in the rights of conscience and in solidarity with the innocent child waiting to be born. you strive to bring god's love into every life.
i don't presume to have all your support. on a night like this, i'm certainly not going to ask for it. you can be certain that in the great causes of compassion that you come together to embrace, that i stand proudly with you as an ally and friend. god bless you all. god bless the united states of america. thank you. >> you see them shaking hands, the president and the governor. the president of the united states is going to be introduced now. he is about to go and deliver his lines. mitt romney spoke for about ten minutes, had a few good one-liners, got the crowd going, poked a little fun at himself. poked some fun at the president. it goes as part of the territory, as part of this dinner tonight. gloria borger is here. give us a little sense. what did you think, gloria? >> i thought he was funny.
i thought by his delivery, you can tell he is not exactly a stand-up come miss ic by profes. he poked a lot of fun at obama, not as much fun as himself, although he did talk about big bird not seeing it coming. >> hold on, gloria. >> here is the president. >> let's listen in. he is getting a standing ovation as mitt romney received as well. >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. everyone, please take your seats. otherwise, clint eastwood will yell at them. thank you to al and nan, your imminence, governor, mrs. romney, governor cuomo, mayor bloomberg, senator schumer, all of the distinguished guests who
are here. in less than three weeks, voters in states like ohio, virginia, and florida will decide this incredibly important election which begs the question, what are we doing here? [ applause ] >> of course, new yorkers also have a big choice to make. you have to decide which one of us you want holding up traffic for the next four years. tonight, i am here with a man whose father was a popular governor and who knows what it is like to run a major northeastern state and who could very well be president someday and i am hoping it is andrew cuomo. [ applause ] >> this is the third time that governor romney and i have met recently. as some of you may have noticed, i had a lot more energy in our
second debate. i felt really well-rested after the nice long nap i had in the first debate. [ applause ] although it turns out millions of americans focused in on the second debate who didn't focus in on the first debate and i happen to be one of them. i particularly want to apologize to chris matthews. four years ago, i gave him a thrill up his leg. this time around, i gave him a stroke. of course, there is a lot of things i learned from that experience. for example, i learned that there are worse things that can happen to you on your anniversary than forgetting to buy a gift.
[ applause ] >> take note, gentlemen. now, win or lose, this is my last political campaign. so i'm trying to drink it all in. unfortunately, mayor bloomberg will only let me have 16 ounces. that's okay. i'm still making the most of my time in the city. earlier today, i went shopping at some stores in midtown. i understand governor romney went shopping for some stores in midtown. and it brought back some great memories. some of you know i went to school here in new york, had a wonderful experience here. [ applause ] >> we used to love walking through central park, loved to go to old yankee stadium, the
house that ruth built, although he really did not build that. i hope everybody is aware of that. it has been four years since i was last at the alsmi smith din. some things have changed since then. i have heard some people say, barack, you are not as young as you used to be. where is that golden smile? where is that pep in your step? i say, settle down, joe, i'm trying to run a cabinet meeting. [ applause ] >> he doesn't smile when he says it, though. tomorrow, it's back to campaigning. i visit cities and towns across our great country and i hear the same thing everywhere i go, honestly, with he were hoping to see michelle.
i have to admit, it can be a grind. sometimes it feels like this race has dragged on forever. but paul ryan assured me that we have only been running for 2 hours and 50 something minutes. of course, the economy is on everybody's minds. the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since i took office. i don't have a joke here. i just thought it would be useful to remind everybody. the employment rate is at the lowest it has been since i took office. [ applause ] >> and we're getting to that time when folks are making up their minds. just other day, honey boo-boo endorsed me. so that's a big relief. ultimately, though, tonight is not about the disagreements governor romney and i may have.
it is what we have in common, beginning with our unusual names. actually mitt is his middle name. i wish i could use my middle name. [ applause ] and even though we are enjoying ourselves tonight, we are both thinking ahead of our final debate on monday. i'm hoping that governor romney and i will have a chance to answer the question that is on the minds of millions of americans watching at home. is this happening again? why aren't they putting on "the voice "? monday's debate is a little bit different because the topic is foreign policy. spoiler alert. we got bin laden.
[ applause ] >> of course, world affairs are a challenge for every candidate. after some of you guys remember, after my foreign trip in 2008, i was attacked as a celebrity because i was so popular with our allies overseas. i have to say i'm impressed with how well governor romney has avoided that problem. just so everyone knows in our third debate, we won't spend a whole lot of time interrupting each other. we will also interrupt the moderator just to mix things up. finally, let me say that i have been doing some thinking and i've decided that for our final debate, i'm going to go back to the strategy i used to prepare for the first debate. i'm just kidding. i'm trying to make axlerod sweat a little bit. get him a little nervous.
in all seriousness, i couldn't be more honored to be here th evening. i'm honored to be with leaders of both the private and public sectors, in particular, the extraordinary work that is done by the catholic church. [ applause ] >> it is written in scripture that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance character and character hope. this country has fought through some very tough years and while we still have a lot of work ahead, we have come as far as we have mainly because the perseverance and character of ordinary americans. it says something about who we are as a people that in the middle of a contentious election season, opposing candidates can share the same stage. people from both parties can come together. [ applause ]
they can come together to support a worthy cause. i particularly want to thank governor romney for joining me, because i admire him very much as a family man and a loving father. those are two titles that will always matter more than any political ones. [ applause ] we may have different political perspectives but i think, in fact, i'm certain that we share the hope that the next four years will reflect the same decency and willingness to come together for a higher purpose that are on display this ink. may we all, in the words of al smith, do our full duty as citizens. god bless you. god bless your families. may god bless the united states of america! thank you very much. [ applause ] there he is, the president of the united states, like mitt
romney, a little self-deprecating humor and a little humor at the expense of his republican challenger. there is timothy dolan, the president of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops and the head of the archdiocese of new york that is sponsoring this al smith dinner, raising $5 million for needy kids in the new york area. let's get some quick reaction. gloria, what did you think? >> i thought he was funny, great, self-deprecating, as was romney at points, talking about the nap he took during the first debate made some fun of his vice president, made some fun of mitt romney and ended up on the same note that mitt romney did, which is talking about civility in politics, which we seem to reserve these days for events like this, sadly. and not more often. i thought both of these men did really well. they have got some good speech writers and the president is a
little bit more practiced at it than mitt romney, i would have to say but overall, i think it was great. >> i think they were both pretty good. ross is with us as well. ross, you know what? it leaves everybody with a pretty good feeling, especially in the aftermath of that he have, very bitter debate the other night. >> yeah. i mean, if we are scoring it, i guess i would say that romney maybe had the slightly better one-liners. obama did better at being self-deprecating. if i had been romney's speech writer, i might have done a few more self-deprecating jokes about romney's wealth. that never goes over badly, i think, at events like this. overall, i think they sort of played to a draw. it was not a completely politics-free event. you noticed the president mentioning that ben lad den is dead and the unemployment rate and i thought romney's most creative joke was pope benedict blaming john paul ii problem.
the president mentioning that george bush was president before him from time to time. >> he reminded the president and everybody in new york city, s l spoiler alert, he sid, we did get bin laden. tonya, what did you think of both these candidates? how did they do? >> i agree with the whole panel. i think they were both very funny. i am going to take issue a little bit. i think the governor's speech was really pretty pointed. i think, wolf, you said at the outset, you didn't expect either of these candidates to talk about abortion. governor romney made a very -- it was really clear he was trying to point out to this audience this was a pro-choice president who is having a battle right now with cardinal dolan over reproductive access and freedom for women. certainly, it was not totally a political. we weren't expecting that. i thought romney was a little edgier. i think his version of being self-deprecating is sort of like
the donald trump version of being self-deprecating. i'm only a little bit great and the other guy really kind of sucks. it was fun. >> it was fun. >> you left us with something to consider. let's take a quick break. we have a lot more to discuss. jim acosta stand big over at the waldorf astoria hotel as well. some of the best moments from tonight. a look ahead to monday's debate. will the good feeling that existed tonight spill over into monday. maybe, maybe not. stand by. [ ross ] we are at the bottom of the earth: patagonia, chile. this is the first leg of our world challenge with the cadillac ats. this is actually starting to feel real now. [ ross ] this is the perfect place to test the ats's advanced aerodynamics. [ derek ] we've got crosswinds, tailwinds, headwinds. aerodynamics is all about keeping the car planted on the road. you are going to get hit by stuff, so don't freak out. [ screaming with excitement ] and move out now. ♪ [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats. ♪
some in the media have a certain way of looking at things. when suddenly, i pulled ahead in some of the major polls. what was the headline? polls show obama leading from behind. and i've already seen early reports from tonight's dinner. headline, obama embraced by catholics. romney dines with rich people. >> very funny line from mitt romney at the al smith dinner in new york. back with is, glor borger, ralph, tonya ackert. at the waldorf astoria hotel is jim acosta. romney delivered his lines pretty well. he is obviously not a stand-up comedian. you don't even hear him crack a joke.
tonight, i thought he did well. >> reporter: from my vantage point, i think he did pretty well too wolf. this was about the best seat i could get this ink to watch the festivities. the car exhaust is making the jokes even funnier, if you don't mind me adding that. picking up on what you were talking about a few moments ago, the zingers were flying. governor romney did throw a few in the directions of the president and the vice president, perhaps a little more so than the president directed at mitt romney. i thought that was interesting. they were sort of in line with his stump speech. he talked about those jobs numbers and the president's reaction to the jobs numbers meaning that you are better off now than you were four weeks ago. he did a big bird rif and talked about how the sesame street letter for the president is "o" and the number is 16 trillion. sort of a dig at the president on the deficit. he did direct some punch lines at himself saying the way he
engages in debate prep is to refrain from alcohol for 65 years. that line went over really well in this audience. he did very well. it goes to show you how hypercompetitive these two candidates are. they were not about to let one one-up the other. they were coming out with their "a" game tonight. >> i want to play a little clip from the president. his performance at that first presidential debate. >> this is the third time that governor romney and i have met recently. as some of you may have noticed, i had ai lot more energy in our second debate. i felt really well rested after the nice long nap i had in the first debate. >> a funny line. let's go back to gloria. gloria, both of these candidates, the president, the governor, they have speech writers and they also sometimes, shall with he say, outsource the writing of these jokes to seasoned professionals.
>> very often they outsource. i know they do at the white house when they have to get ready for the white house correspondents' dinner. they bring in the joke writers and then the speech writers take another look at it. these things go through many, many hands. i think tonight what you saw was two candidates trying to strike this balance we've been talking about, which is sort of getting in a dig at the other guy, friendly and also getting in, being able to dig at yourself is when mitt romney spoke about cuomo being able to run for president, he said, imagine that, having a father who was governor, being a one-term governor yourself and think you are ready to run for president, which is, of course, his biography. he could make fun of him self. he was pointed about the president and the economy and the rest of it. the president took some whacks at mitt romney and his wealth, for example. in fact, romney took some whacks at his own wealth, saying this
is the kind of garb that he and ann wear at home. >> he said normally during the day when i'm out to lunch, i'm wearing a business suit and tie and it is good to show up at an event where i can wear something that i wear around the house. a tuxedo and white tie. >> don't you? >> look forward to wearing those white ties. >> ross, you don't even wear a tie period. you can't relate to anything that mitt romney does. >> they wouldn't let me in tonight. the lack of a tie. >> we have to dress you up. sorry. >> well, someday. i saw if katie couric and chris matthews can be there tonight, i think all of us here tonight can dream of sitting behind andrew cuomo and bobby jindal eight years from now. >> they put a lot of the celebrities up on the platform there behind the speakers. that's the tradition of these dinners in new york, not only this dinner but other dinners as well. tonya, what did you think of that one line that romney said? it was cute. it was funny.
he said that the president was there at the waldorf astoria hotel looking around. he may only have a month or so left in office. the president saying to himself, so little time, so time time to redistribute if you with il. i thought that was a cute little zinger at the president. >> look, wolf, i appreciate the president to be able to laugh at mitt romney when he is actually trying to do it on purpose. it worked out. he had a few one-liners that actually worked. they do speak to a political philosophy and economic philosophy that is very different from that of the president's. that's fair game at a dinner like this. i thought it was funny. i thought it was in good fun. i do think he was a bit edgier than the president. it was a nice softening of the tone for half a second. >> i was very, very pleased with their summations when they both got very shall very personal and they reflected on the importance of this dinner.
it is not only a dinner where you make fun of yourself, make fun of your challenger and make fun of new york a little bit. it is also a dinner where they raise $5 million for needy kids in new york. let's take a quick break. more of this coming up. >>. >> of course, we are down to the final months of the president's term. as presidents -- as president obama surveys the waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he is thinking? so little time, so much to redistribute. to go time, and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters.
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i'm still making the most of my time i understand governor romney went shopping for some stores in midtown. >> one of president obama's good one liners tonight at the al smith dinner in new york. back with us gloria borger, jim acosta. the most important issues facing them right now. when it comes to women, the most important issue, abortion, 39%. jobs, health care, the economy, equal rights, 19, 18, 16, 15%.
were you surprised by the poll? >> i was surprised by the poll, wolf. i think generally while women obviously care about the issue of abortion, the issue of con a contraception and a whole variety of social issues, the number one issue that we have seen in a lot of polls is the question of the economy. i think if you look at the polling of women in battleground states, it's very mixed as you go -- as you go from state to state. so i was surprised by that. by that result. but, again, wolf, you look tonight, the battleground states new nbc poll, iowa and wisconsin, the president up. and so the question about the gender gap with a gender gap in the double digits in the president's favor. last week, we had gender gap polls that showed something else. this is a race in flux. but right now, the balance with
women really title toward president o president obama. >> in the gallup poll, when they asked men who were registered voters, their most important issue, very different than the women. jobs the most important for men. and the economy, 38%, 37%. budget, health care, taxes, down in the single ding igits. were you surprised by that? >> no, those were the numbers you would expect to see. i think the first sample suggests the obama campaign is having success in terms of energizing their base. overall, women are almost as likely as men to identify as pro life versus pro choice. isn't a huge gender gap on the issue of abortion. the gender gap bigger on economic issues than on social issues. some of the women saying abortion matters, most are pro life voters. it is more pro choice voters
probably responding to the obama campai campaign. they have run more ads on abortion overall or more ads on abortion than medicare. which is astandionishing. the question is, will this pay off? >> new ads from the campaign, tonya, stressing that romney believes there should be exceptions. may be anti abortion, but there should be exceptions for those engaged in incest or rain or the li -- or rape or the life of the mother. >> that's what he's saying now. but i think the governor has been incredibly hard frankly to pin down. i want to go back to ross' point about how most voters identify as pro life. i think you have to get behind what that term means. i can appreciate his -- wait a minute. i can appreciate his sort of being able to speak to what
issues are important to women, but the bottomline, a majority of people in this country, certainly a majority of women, believe that they, and not the state, should have the right to determine whether or not they pro create. i think that his statement may be misleading in that respect. and when we talk about why -- one minute. why this issue is important to women. it's because right now, we're facing a presidential campaign and governor romney that wants to take that right away and this is something that the supreme court has said in casey which was the last time that roe vs. wade was challenged, this is a right fundamental to women. the fact that now that somebody wants to take that off the table is pretty dangerous. and it's scary for a lot of women voters. >> just to clarify my point. i wasn't seeing the majority of women identify as pro life. the country is evenly split, pro life, pro choice, on that identification and evenly split among men and among women.
the other thing i'd say there, is strong public support for roe vs. wade overall. mostly, people think that roe vs. wade only legalized abortion in the first trimester, when it pretty much legalized it throughout pregnancy. there is strong support for restrictions in the second p trimester, so i'll leave it there. >> "the orlando sentinal" came out with an editorial tonight, endorsing mitt romney. key area of florida. florida, florida, florida, florida. key battleground state. i'm sure romney folks will be happy about that. >> well, wolf, they'll be very happy about that, because this is the same paper that endorsed barack obama four years ago, and for mitt romney to take that away from the president is important. a clip from the editorial i can read to you.
we have little confidence that obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget for the next four years and for that reason, we endorsed him in 2008. we're recommending romney in this race. that is a pretty significant development in this race, because that central part of florida, wolf, as you have been saying, we've all been saying for months now, very key to the outcome of the state of florida. now, having said all of that, as flora just mentioned a few moments ago, the president is on safe ground in wisconsin, iowa, and two other battleground states. >> we'll see how safe that ground is a lot could change. a big debate coming up monday night as all of us know and heading out on the campaign trail from new york. tomorrow, all practicing getting ready for the debate. tomorrow night, the very latest on the presidential election, right here on piers morgan tonight. piers will be back with tyler perry and ted turner, a man who created cnn.